First Day


Finally classes started today. I woke up at 7 so that I could be 55 minutes early to my 9:00 class. (Being very early has become something of a tradition for me.)

My first class was real analysis. Prof. Labutin started by discussing the shortcomings of the Riemann integral by saying “In serious mathematics, most functions are very bad.” He meant that they tend to have many funny discontinuties, and we would need the Lebesgue integral to fix our problems. Then he started talking about elementary set operations. After the class, a bunch of undergraduates (myself included) asked for his signature to be allowed to take the class. Unfortunately, the form asks whether the professor has reviewed the student’s transcript. None of us had transcripts, so he marked “no” on everyone’s form. When he signed mine, for some reason he asked me if I had taken calculus and then asked me if I knew what uniform convergence is. He seemed rather surprised when I told him that I did. Do I really look that young? He didn’t ask the others.

After that, I had my audition for orchestra. I played the praeludium from Bach’s first cello suite and a bit of Saint-Saëns’s Allegro Appassionato fairly well, and they at least claimed to be impressed. Then they asked me to “sight-read” a few measures from Beethoven’s third (Eroica) symphony. I say “sight-read” because I have played this symphony before. Somehow I couldn’t get through these few measures at all despite having played them many times before. At least they didn’t know (I think) that I played them before. After the audition, they told me to be at the auditorium at 7 on Wednesday, so I asked if that meant that I had been accepted, and they said that it did. That was good.

After that, I put my cello back in my room and thought about getting some lunch, but as I only had half an hour before my next class I decided to skip it. I went over to the UCen and purchased two bottles of Perrier ($1.50 per 330 milliliter bottle!?) and then found an Arrowhead booth that was selling cases of sparkling water. I decided to try to order a case or two, but then they insisted that I needed a telephone to order from them. What is this world coming to? People won’t just accept my money? I am very disturbed. I will have to see if my roommate will let me use his cell phone number since I definitely do not want a phone of my own. I promised my parents that I would never use a phone after I moved out. I really hope that these Arrowhead people never call me because telephones are just evil. What’s the difference between not having a phone and not answering one anyway as far as they’re concerned? Stupid people. But I need sparkling mineral water, and I don’t want to pay $1.50 for 330 milliliters of Perrier. At least the Arrowhead sales representative was kind enough to give me a free bottle of Arrowhead sparkling water. It’s much worse than Calistoga and Crystal Geyser unfortunately, so I think I’ll have to pay almost double for Pellegrino, which is still a bit cheaper than Perrier. A dollar a day for consumption isn’t too bad if I buy Pellegrino by the case and drink half a liter per day.

After that annoying little episode, I went off to the discussion group for my music class. I think that class will be extremely simple. The first two weeks will apparently be learning musical terms that I knew when I was seven, but I hope that it eventually gets somewhat more difficult.

My final class was the Putnam class. I didn’t know that it was actually two classes: a class for beginning problem solvers at 1 and a class for advanced problem solvers at 2. Prof. Ryavec thinks I should make a fool out of myself with my inability to solve problems in the advanced class, so I will have time to eat lunch on Mondays between 12:50 and 2. I approve of that.

I guess that’s enough for now.

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About Simon

Hi. I'm Simon Rubinstein-Salzedo. I'm a mathematics postdoc at Dartmouth College. I'm also a musician; I play piano and cello, and I also sometimes compose music and study musicology. I also like to play chess and write calligraphy. This blog is a catalogue of some of my thoughts. I write them down so that I understand them better. But sometimes other people find them interesting as well, so I happily share them with my small corner of the world.
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4 Responses to First Day

  1. z9r4c3 says:

    yes, you do look that young. 🙂 don’t worry, you won’t make a fool out of yourself. you’re Simon! lol mineral water…

    • Simon says:

      While we’re on the topic of mineral water, my readers should know that my roommate has granted me permission to use his cell phone number, so I’ll be back to Arrowhead tomorrow. I also realized that half a liter is not the same as a liter, and so Pellegrino is a lot more expensive than I thought it was when I was writing the original entry.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You live in USA and have trouble getting free water? This scares me.

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